Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001 - Jordan
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism|
|Publication Date||21 May 2002|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001 - Jordan, 21 May 2002, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4681078a28.html [accessed 2 October 2014]|
Jordanian officials strongly condemned the September 11 attacks and responded favorably to US requests for assistance. King Abdullah served as an influential and moderating force in the region and stressed in multilateral venues the need to combat terrorism cooperatively. Jordan strengthened its counterterrorism laws, defining terrorism more broadly, specifying punishment for terrorist offenses, and facilitating the seizure of terrorist finances. Moreover, the Government of Jordan continued its vigilant counterterrorism posture in 2001, facing threats that included possible retribution for the late-1999 interdiction of an al-Qaida-linked terrorist plot and efforts to exploit Jordanian territory for attacks against Israel.
In late April, Jordanian authorities publicly released details of the arrest on 29 January of 13 militants who allegedly had planned to attack unspecified Israeli and Western targets in the country. The 13 were referred to a state security court for trial on four counts: membership in an illegal organization, conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts, possession of explosives without a license and for illegal purposes, and preparing an explosive device without a license. Some cell members possessed homemade explosives at the time they were detained.
On 3 December, a state security court sentenced Sabri al-Banna, head of the Abu Nidal terrorist organization (ANO), to death in absentia. Al-Banna, also known as Abu Nidal, was charged with the assassination in 1994 of a Jordanian diplomat in Lebanon. Four ANO members were also sentenced to death. (One was arrested in Jordan upon his arrival from Libya in early January 2002 and three still remain at large.)
Jordanian prosecutors requested the death penalty in the trial of dual US-Jordanian national Ra'ed Hijazi, who had been implicated in the Bin Ladin-linked Millennium plot in late 1999. Hijazi allegedly confessed to planning terrorist attacks in Jordan and to undergoing military training in al-Qaida camps inside Afghanistan. (In 2000, Hijazi had been convicted in absentia and sentenced to death along with five others. Hijazi's death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on 11 February 2002 by the State Security Court.)
The Jordanian authorities foiled numerous attempts by militants to infiltrate Israel from Jordan during the year. In June, Jordanian security officials arrested four Jordanians and charged them with planning to transfer a cache of arms into the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Jordanian authorities also retrieved various types of weapons – including explosives – allegedly concealed along the Jordanian-Iraqi border after having been smuggled from Lebanon. By the end of 2001, at least two suspected terrorists associated with this plot were still at large in Lebanon and the West Bank.
Jordan retained its tight restrictions and close monitoring of HAMAS and other Palestinian rejectionist groups in its territory. For example, the Jordanian Government settled a two-week long standoff involving Ibrahim Ghawsha, a deported HAMAS leader, who flew back to Amman without warning. Jordan permitted his return only after he had agreed not to be a spokesman or conduct political work on behalf of HAMAS.
On 7 August, an Israeli businessman was shot dead outside his Amman apartment. The motive for the attack remained unclear, although two groups – Nobles of Jordan and Holy Warriors for Ahmad Daqamseh – claimed responsibility. (Ahmad Daqamseh is a Jordanian soldier currently serving a life sentence for killing six Israeli schoolgirls in 1997.)
As of early December, a Jordanian court was investigating the activities of an Iraqi truck driver who allegedly smuggled weapons into Jordan the previous month. The suspect insisted he was paid by an unidentified Iraqi to transport the weapons to Jordan only. Upon further questioning, however, the driver admitted that at least 13 machineguns were destined for the West Bank and Gaza Strip.